Friday, May 9, 2014

Remembering My Mom on Mother's Day

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Mother was satisfied
with the two dresses
she alternated wearing
to her salesclerk job
at Quackenbush’s.
When she’d arrive home,
she’d change into a house dress
and hang the dress she wore
on the clothesline to air.

Mother was satisfied
with her old winter coat.
It was warm enough.
It didn’t matter to her
that the sleeves
were beginning to fray.

Whenever there was
leeway in the budget,
she bought for us.
She could wait.
She was satisfied.

When I turned sixteen,
my first job was at Woolworth’s.
I was paid ninety cents an hour
to work after school and Saturdays;
brought home twelve dollars a week.
I gave a portion to my father,
bought my own clothes,
paid for bus fares, lunches, books,
and saved.

One day I saw it
on a rack in The Mart,
a nice gray wool coat
with neatly folded unfrayed cuffs.
Nothing fancy,
just new and neat
and on sale.

I wrapped it for her birthday,
January eighth,
but gave it to her
in early December.

It was the first time
I’d given her
more than a trinket.

Maude Carolan

The year was around 1960, five years before my dear mother passed away. That was a very long time ago, but memories of her are still very much alive in my heart. This poem was previously published in the "Paterson Literary Review".

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